Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


46th Annual Convention; Online; 2020

Event Details

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Symposium #444
CE Offered: BACB
Running Low on Time? Practical Strategies for Training School Staff
Monday, May 25, 2020
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Area: EDC/OBM; Domain: Translational
Chair: Charis Lauren Wahman (Michigan State University)
Discussant: Charis Lauren Wahman (Michigan State University)
CE Instructor: Charis Lauren Wahman, Ph.D.

Novice teachers and unlicensed classroom staff (aides or paraprofessionals) may not have sufficient training in evidence based practices to instruct, assess, and engage diverse learners. High teacher and staff turn-over negatively effects students and is costly to schools across the country. There is a high cost associated with finding, hiring, and training a new staff (Milanowski & Odden, 2007). School districts need to identify evidence-based strategies and provide effective training to keep novice teachers in the classroom. Teacher preparation programs provide limited instruction on classroom management strategies and school districts are left with the challenge of providing thorough and on-going professional development. Additionally, there is often limited time or opportunity for paraprofessionals to receive training in evidence based teaching and behavior reduction strategies, which puts time at a premium for any training which paraprofessionals do receive (Giangrecco, Suter, & Doyle, 2010). Schools need efficient and effective means to train classroom staff in evidence based practices. This presentation provides 3 examples of effective and efficient procedures for training school staff novel skills. First, we will review data from a study that used Behavior Skills Training (BST) and alternating methods of objective and evaluative feedback to increase the rate of behavior specific praise with novice teachers. The next presenter will examine the effects of BST for paraprofessionals on prompting and contriving communication exchanges with students who use augmentative and alternative communication devices. Finally, we will share the results of a workshop that included lecture, a card game, and video modeling to teach paraprofessionals how to conduct three conditions of a functional analysis.

Target Audience:

Practitioners, graduate students, and teachers

Comparative Effects of Feedback Before and After Instruction to Increase Novice Teacher’s Specific Praise and Student Behavior
CAITLIN CRISS (Ohio State University), Sheila R. Alber-Morgan (The Ohio State University), Moira Konrad (The Ohio State University)
Abstract: Classroom management is a significant challenge for teachers, especially novice teachers who report classroom management as their greatest need for professional development. This challenge may lead to high teacher turn-over which negatively impacts student achievement and school culture. Teacher preparation programs provide limited instruction on classroom management strategies and school districts are left with the challenge of providing thorough and on-going professional development. Behavior skills training (BST) is an empirically based method for training new skills that uses the principles of applied behavior analysis. Additionally, researchers have well documented that behavior specific praise is an effective classroom management strategy. The present study used BST to increase the rate of behavior specific praise with novice teachers. Once trained, teachers received objective and evaluative feedback on their rate of specific praise in the classroom setting. Additionally, students’ on-task behavior was measured to determine if a functional relationship exists between an increase in behavior specific praise by the teacher and student on-task behavior. An alternating treatments design measured the effectiveness of the feedback when it was provided prior to a teaching performance or immediately after a lesson.
Behavior Skills Training for Paraprofessionals Prompting Students with Complex Communication Needs to use Augmentative and Alternative Communication Devices
ERIC ANDERSON (Ohio State University )
Abstract: Communication is a fundamental right and is crucial to full participation in daily life. For students with developmental and intellectual disabilities with complex communication needs (CCN), communication opportunities can be hindered by skill deficits and competing challenging behaviors. These same students are often further isolated from communication opportunities with placement in restrictive 1:1 settings. These 1:1 settings do; however, provide an opportunity to practice communication skills, which can serve to decrease deficits, and simultaneously decrease challenging behavior. In this study, we used a multiple probe design to test the effects of Behavior Skills Training (BST) for paraprofessionals increasing the opportunities to initiate and respond to communication for their students with CCN who used augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices. Further, we trained paraprofessionals to use least-to-most prompting strategies to increase students’ fluency with AAC devices and measured the effects of increased student communication on challenging behavior. Results and recommendations for staff training, are discussed.
Teaching Paraprofessionals to Conduct Functional Analysis Conditions
RON DEMUESY (Dublin City Schools), Kimberly Jones (Dublin City Schools )
Abstract: The present project examined methods for training five paraprofessionals to conduct functional analysis conditions. First, the participants were given written instructions on how to complete the conditions. Second, they participated in a ninety-minute workshop that included a brief lecture, a functional analysis card game and a video of simulated conditions. Results indicated that all participants met the established treatment criterion. In addition, two participants meet the treatment criterion based on data probes while they conducted the conditions with actual students. Implications for training paraprofessionals in an applied setting in high level skills are discussed.



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